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The Booby

Quick-ear, who heard this trick plotted between the father and daughter, said nothing, and waited to see the upshot of the affair. And when, at the trumpeting of the birds, the Sun whipped on the Night, who sat mounted on the jackass of the Shades, they returned to the field, where at the usual signal they fell to plying their heels. But if Ciannetella was like another Atalanta, Lightning had become no less like an old donkey and a foundered horse, for he could not stir a step. But Shoot-straight, who saw his comrade's danger, and heard from Quick-ear how matters stood, laid hold of his crossbow and shot a bolt so exactly that it hit Lightning's finger, and out flew the stone from the ring, in which the virtue of the charm lay; whereupon his legs, that had been tied, were set free, and with four goat-leaps he passed Ciannetella and won the race.

The King seeing this victory of a blockhead, the palm thus carried off by a simpleton, the triumph of a fool, bethought himself seriously whether or no he should give him his daughter; and taking counsel with the wiseacres of his court, they replied that Ciannetella was not a mouthful for the tooth of such a miserable dog and lose-the-day bird, and that, without breaking his word, he might commute the promise of his daughter for a gift of crowns, which would be more to the taste of a poor beggar like Moscione than all the women in the world.

This advice pleased the King, and he asked Moscione how much money he would take instead of the wife who had been promised him. Then Moscione, after consulting with the others, answered, "I will take as much gold and silver as one of my comrades can carry on his back." The king consented; whereupon they brought Strong-back, on whom they began to load bales of ducats, sacks of patacas, large purses full of crowns, barrels of copper money, chests full of chains and rings; but the more they loaded him the firmer he stood, just like a tower, so that the treasury, the banks, the usurers, and the money-dealers of the city did not suffice, and he sent to all the great people in every direction to borrow their silver candlesticks, basins, jugs, plates, trays, and baskets; and yet all was not enough to make up the full load.

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